A care assistant, is someone who works within social care, to provide care and support to those who need it; there are paid care roles, in different sectors of social care, including elderly and mental health. A carer and/or young carer, is where a person provides care for a family member or friend, without which they would not be able to cope; this is usually unpaid. This can affect the lives of not only the person receiving the care but also the caregiver. As a young carer, children or teenagers, juggle their education and other aspects to provide care, something which the carers trust raise awareness for annually, to ensure that those young carers and carers in general, are in turn cared for, by themselves or those around them. A link has been found, in which people who were or are carers, then go into paid social care.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the need for adult social care across Britain is rising, with an expected 26.1% of the population being aged 65 years or older, the need for social care and resources are rapidly growing. In 2017, it was estimated that there were 1.6 million adult social care jobs, this having increased by 21% since 2009. With the ageing population, there is an increase in the number of carers, with an estimation of, one in ten people is a carer, with this number rapidly rising. Three in five people will be a carer at some point in their lives in the UK according to the Carers Trust.
We were curious to see how our staff had entered their careers in care so following this information, we wanted to sit down with a care assistant, to speak to their first-hand about a typical day as a care assistant, and what they love about it. Natalie Hickey, a bank care assistant with PrimeLife, currently based at Stoneygate Oaklands in Leicester, who was a young carer from the age of 7. She was kind enough to give us an overview of life as a care assistant.
When asked why she went into a career in care, she said, “caring is my hobby, I literally love it; it makes me smile, it’s in my blood”. Coming to PrimeLife, around 7 years ago, she said it was “fate” when the manager interviewed her. Starting off on nights, she then moved onto days and eventually became bank staff from permanent and “hasn’t looked back since!”.
We asked her ‘what makes a care career interesting’?
“I supposed every day is different; you don’t know what you’re going to get. When I put a plan together of what I’d like to do for a day, it never goes right but you have to work around it”.
“The residents don’t like it when you’re formal with them, they like it better when you’re having a good friendly chat with them. I think that’s what makes them feel so safe and happy, and that makes the staff feel happy too because they like having 5 minutes, spending time just talking to residents.”
‘Even though it’s constantly changing, what does your day-to-day routine look like?’
“So obviously I always come in, in the morning and I’ll go morning everyone, and they’ll go Natalie can you do this, and this is before I’ve even started. Then we’ll have a little chin wag with them, about what TV they’ve watched or if they slept alright. Over breakfast, we’ll have a little chin wag over the breakfast and then we’ll have a cup of tea with them, then dinner will come and obviously there’s little random jobs in between and activities and taking them to the shop or showers and nail or hair. It’s like oh, I’ll do your hair, and you’ll end up doing all the ladies’ hair and you’ll have only asked one of them and because they watched you do it and they want theirs done!”
‘It sounds like a fun day though’
‘What do you like about PrimeLife?’
“I think the fact that it feels like a big family, they do offer some good opportunities, like training. The staff here go beyond and even more so. We’ll come in on our days off to take someone out like if we know there’s a big trip going on and we know a few of the residents are going on the trip are wheelchair users, we know that there aren’t enough staff to go out, staff will come in on a day off and take the residents out. Like when we went Skegness a few years ago.”
‘Is Stoneygate Oaklands your favourite care home to work at?’
“I enjoyed working at Ashlands and Lutterworth as well. I suppose for me, I have a different personality that people don’t always get along with, but this lot love it and me like because I was such a young carer, you know the way I talk to residents it’s like they’re my own family, so that’s nice to know that my personality can fit in with everyone else.”
Sitting down with Natalie, while she had her cup of tea was great, and when she was asked what are you doing after this she told us she was going to go back to helping residents in the shower because she’d taken this quick 10-minute break to speak with us! Thank you, Natalie!
Visit www.prime-life.co.uk/careers if you are interested in starting a career in care!